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Concert Reviews

Mayhem Tour Concert Review

On August 23, 2011, in Concert Reviews, by admin


Congratulations to us…this is our 200th post!  And there was much rejoicing….yea

August 10, 2011.  Gexa Energy Center, Dallas Texas.  Another night out under the stars to take in some more head banging concert fare. The Mayhem Tour made a stop to this soon to be desert city of Dallas, Texas. The Mayhem Tour features Disturbed, Godsmack, and Megadeath in the headlining role.  Other bands like Machine Head were on two side stages. The twist to this stop on the Mayhem Tour was that Dallas and the entire Texas region has been crippled by 105 + degree heat and extreme drought conditions. So the madness on this stop of the Mayhem Tour included more sweat than the usual.

Mayhem Tour - It Doesn't Look 107, But It Is

The first stop was the side stage for Machine Head.  Although I have heard of them, I had never seem them before. The pic above was from the side stage where Machine Head played. Interesting group in that their metal guitars are laced with a rolling, wandering string of guitar licks that glue together to create a sound. Nothing much more on these guys.  The crowd was receptive, But nothing more stood out about this performance.

Megadeath came on in the early evening on the main stage.  Dave Mustane promptly informed the crowd that his doctor advised against playing this evening for an undisclosed reason.  He had the toy DJ who introduced him say the same thing.  Bottom line, they played for just short of 40 minutes a set that was typical Megadeath. Mustane seems to have shook his asshole ways of the past, and was gracious to the crowd and his stated attempt to play against better wisdom. I am OK with Megadeath, but will never go see them has a headliner.  Tonight, they were OK, but I did not mind it was a shortened set.  More time for $12 beer.

Godsmack follwed.  I like these guys. Their sound is so unique, not from music structure, but from the settings and sound out of the electric guitar.  I have not seen this unique electric sounding since Tom Sholz of Boston invented his contraption that was the Boston sound. Sully, the lead singer, is a no BS entertainer with a good sense of humor.  The only misstep  in the show was the once again obligatory solos that do nothing for me and the audience.  Only the real drunks trying to keep their buzz or highs intact cheer for these. The stage was straight up.  NO frills. Sully goofed with the audience at one point, and was truly funny, something you rarely see in concerts.  Go see Godsmack. They are good.  I hope they keep it together for a long time.

Disturbed headlined. I do not like these guys, but must review with an open mind. The stage was incredible.  Full of color and visual effects, including video running through most of the songs. I swear they were trying to send messages to audience.  Disturbed is a bid military supporter. Many of the videos captured that in a framing of ‘war really is stupid and shitty’ approach. Disturbed played all the hits in the 1:15 hour set. They are a tight band, and like Godsmack before them, they definitely have a sound of their own.  The political statements get a bit much.  Audience is there to loose their minds, not use it thinking about heavy subjects.  Still, I do not fault them. Most bands are just plain mindless, and my seven years of university are often lost on the mindlessness (which usually is very entertaining). In the end, they indicated to the audience that they would be taking a break.  The rags state they are not breaking up, but on indefinite hiatus, to ‘get away from eachother’ for a while.  So if you are really a fan, go see them, this may be the last for a long, long time.  And frankly, while I see the Hair Bands touring with great success in a reunited state, somehow, I just do not think this type of music that Disturbed plays will be the type to come around again in 20 years.

Go see them. I am calling them done for good.

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Cinderella Review: HOB Dallas

On July 4, 2011, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Cinderella Spot On at House of Blues Dallas

Back to reviewing the music that got us here in the first place. Cinderella, a ‘hair band’ from the late eighties played House of Blues in Dallas on 3 July 2011. This was the first time I had seen them since they started touring again years back in a smaller venue, so tonight was a must to see.


I consider Cinderella a great story because of the challenges of front man Tom Kiefer. He is the musical scribe of all of the bevy of hits from the 80’s that Cinderella plays in its shows today.  One after another. But the story for Kiefer has been challenging. He has a signature vocal sound combining great range with a growling approach. Unfortunately for him, this approach has led to many vocal cord issues leading to multiple surgeries to remove nodules from the vocal cords. He also has a paralyzed left vocal cord.  Even with many surgeries when Cinderella was in its hey day, he continued to press on.  His latest surgery came in 2008, when his left vocal cord hemorrhaged again. After over a year off, he is back. His voice is strong, although he will not go to the real high notes on many songs (and there are many in Cinderella songs). If you know the above story, you do not mind.  I would rather have them around for years to come touring, as this band truly gets it right.

The night opened with John Corabi, of Ratt fame, doing an acoustical set. While Corabi has great control of an acoustic guitar and an endearing personality, but an acoustical set is not recommended to open a act like Cinderella.  At one point Corabi asked if he was boring us…..my answer would have been a resounding yes.

Cinderella came on for the 1:15 set. They wasted no time to get to their catalog of hits.  Kiefer spoke rarely, only to give the obligatory shout out to Dallas and Texas….something that is taught in ‘how to be a rock star’ school. But his lack of chatting translated into a driving set from the band that remains amazingly tight musically. Kiefer is  a presence on stage. Not a wild man, he lets the music speak. He is also an accomplished guitarist and keyboards player. While all of the driving rock hits such as “Shake Me, Gypsy Rose, I’m Coming Home” and the like, it was actually a lesser hit that I felt was done to perfection. “The Last Train” was done masterfully by the group, with an impressive audience sing along where I could distinctly hear spot on harmonies from the audience. They took the more mellow song and built into the thunder of the song…..the difference with Cinderella is that you get the feel they are actually performing the song with emotion, that it really means something to them rather than just playing for the sake of playing.  This is further witnessed by the musical interludes in a few of the songs.  Rather than go into individual solos, which I hate in any concert, they do musical jams between Kiefer, the other guitarist and bassist. The group’s music is based upon blues rock, and when they go into a jam, it is usually blues based progressions and leads. They do not let them last too long so as not to loose the mostly A.D.D. audience.  You can tell they are into the music, and this makes all the difference in the show. Too many bands play for the egotistical entertainment value and relay on stage props to entertain.

Kiefer clearly was pacing himself throughout the show.  With the voice issues he will continue to have, this only makes sense through a grueling tour schedule. But as the show drew to a close, he invested more and more into the performance.  While they concluded the encore with “Shelter Me”, not one of their stronger songs, clearly Kiefer had built up his performance, leaving the stage in a robust fatigue from giving at the show.  I truly appreciated the gut and performance.

The crowd of 1500 or so 20-40 somethings were truly appreciative.  While not an overly off the hook party crowd, they were very enthusiastic. The place was nearly packed, showing that there is certainly no lack of popularity of this act from Pennsylvania originally discovered by Bon Jovi. Between parking, concessions, and ticket entries, I estimate the revenue for this show to be $84,000. I also estimate that we will continue to see Cinderella touring again, as long as Kiefer’s voice holds out.

This is the best concert (and believe me I go to a lot) that I have seen in years.  Perhaps it was propped up by the fact that it was at the House of Blues.  I have seen Cinderella 6 times now, and in all previous times, they were part of a multi-bill show in an outdoor or larger arena where they could niether play their complete catalog or translate their strong sound into a club atmosphere.  Here is your chance to go see them. Most of their remaining tour dates are in clubs, with the exception of a few outdoor multi-day festivals that I wish I were going to.  Check out the band website below for more details


On a scale of 10, I give this concert  solid 9……….go see them if you can.

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Motley Crue and Poison Review

On June 15, 2011, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Every once in a while you must imbibe. Once in a while you must throw caution to the wind and pursue true Bohemian attitude.  This is what I considered ding to go drive 110 miles to see a mid-week concert featuing Motley Crue and Poison. This was the 7th time seeing Motley Crue, and now double digits for Poison at 10. Naturally I was drawn to this event given my musical taste of which most of you are well aware. Given the harsh economical times, I decided that I would take advantage of $16 tickets….yes, that includes all the bullshit fees Ticketmaster places on the tickets.  Welcome to a mid week concert.  My thought process was that I can always sneak up closer to the stage to get a better view of the bands to write this review. Plan executed. But lets first go over the show…..

The New York Dolls (warning, not sure this is official site) opened.  Reformed in 2004 with David Johannason at lead, these guys put on a nice show if you like the pop/punk influence. They were a tight band, but really, misplaced on this bill.  Apparently Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue consider them an influence and that is how they got on this bill.  Well, good for Nikki not selling out, as these guys, while good, just was not a match for the other two bands from a musical genre point of view.( Sorry Robert, I know you were pissed in your own way for missing the first two songs while delivering my ticket to me. )

Next was Poison. Brett Michaels cashed in one of his nine lives to appear unscathed once again after a bout with potential death inclusive of a hole in his heart…or some medical thing as this.  But here is my tribute to him.  This dude has been a Type 1 diabetic for well over 40 years.  He injects himself with insulin about 4 times a day. He has lived his rock lifestyle. He survives.  In fact, he looked great on the stage this hot Texas evening. For personal reasons which I will not go into (but read the lyrics of “Learning To Breathe” on the Song Lyrics page of this site), I have the most respect for this person and what he has gone through.  OK. Enough mush.  That said, the show was all Poison.  They have not changed in several years.  They always open with “Look What the Cat Dragged In” (really a clever song lyrically if you peel the onion back). The show is full of Brett Michaels fake smiles. He plays the audience, but really never looking into the eyes of anyone of the concert goers. It comes off quite fake.  He has to kiss D.D. Deville’s ass so many times during the concert. I would not be surprised if C.C.’s acknowldgement by Michaels was not written into the contract…..and this night, it was over the top.  That said, C.C. was spot on in his guitar.  Looking good and drug free (for many years now, sans one relapse) he is was force on the stage. Also in the Poison show is the solos.  Guitar, Drums,  Really shitheads?  I know you can play those instruments,. why do this?  And why did not bassist Bobby Dahl get a solo? OH well, Poison is Poison, and I will continue to support them. I have seen Michaels 4 times solo as well, and well, he is consistent there as well with his plastic smile…..but still……..

Motley Crue. What can you say?  I have seen versions of this band missing original members. But they have been basically back together as originals since 2004. Each member has his own branding.  Vince Neal, the lead singer is well know for his debauchery….( I once witness him clock a sound guy on a solo tour, and yes, the sound guy was a rental for the gig….read,  lawsuits in Dallas ensued). Bassist Nikki Sixx was known for his near death experience with heroin addiction.  Mick Mars, the quiet one branded himself in mystery, kind of the implied satanist of the group.  In reality, he has battled a life long health issue called ankylosing spondylitis, which is an advanced form of arthritis of the hip and back.  Tommy Lee was branded for his big ‘you know what’, sex tapes, and his twice shortly lived marriage to PamelaAnderson. Now he does the DJ circuit in top clubs when not touring.  I snuck down from my hill side perch to get a good view of Motley Crue.  They all look good.  Mars moves decently considering his position.  Nikki Sixx, looks fantastic, although sporting a few extra pounds.  Neal the same.  They are a tight band, know the moves of each other on stage, and put on one hell of a show. The stage was elaborate.  Colorful…..and topped off by a circular roller coaster rail where Lee’s drum kit, and Lee, could go upside down.  In fact, Lee pulled a dude from the audience to strap onto the elaborate set up and take an upside down ride as well.  While I am there more for the music and performance, this was entertaining.  Neals voice is very bit as strong as the earlier days.  AT times, however, he would float off key between phrases which is a sign of not enough volume in feed back speakers, or fatique. (Great voices and singing require one to be in good shape). They played nearly two hours, but some of that time was the drum kit thing, which easily consumed 15 minutes overall. Of course, all the hits were there.  But I like their newer music as well.  They played ‘Saints of Los Angeles’ very early in the set.  I think this is one of the better Crue songs out there. These guys are entertainers…….they are great to see in concert.  I will go every time I have a chance, even if it is a hillside in the 100 degree Texas hot…….

Unfortunately, the crowd for this event was seriously off.  Call it mid week blues.  Hard to cut loose and party when you have to get up the next day and return to the job you hate…….. When I got closer to the stage, the same.  They did not have a pit for this event.  This is a mistake.  Screw you legal people, you likely drove that decision. Go see them the Crue, you will be glad you did.


We get back to our music format. Maybe you did not know……let see, it is beautiful sunshine on the outside venue where you are taking in a multi-band concert.  Great deal.  10 bands for one low price.  So here you are, throwing back the brews like a jack rabbit. Maybe you dip into that little funny cigarette that some dude with a total lack of comprehension passes you.  The sun is shining. Its warm. The chicks are hot, and the vibe is good.  Maybe in a bit, you will start an impromptu mosh pit on the hillside (as you are really to cheap to buy tickets in the pit where the real moshing is taking place). The line up is great…..Disturbed, maybe Stone Sour, Staind, or maybe it is a double bill of bands with the same singer, like Slipknot and Stone Sour. Then there are the other bands that you have heard, and love, maybe Red,  Skillet, Creed, Alter Bridge, Flyleaf, throw in POD….these bands rock and definitely keep your chemical vibe alive.

But wait a minute. Do we really know those bands?  WE like the music. Talented.  Great stage show, and talented musicians and singers. But we really do not listen to lyrics, I mean, common man, we are not those sensitive types who get into the lyric.  WE are all just getting F’d up. Well, oddly enough, the one thing that  these bands have in common is that they are blatantly Christian Bands. What?  Bullshit you say. These are great bands and great live shows.  True.  But many of their lyrics are no different that getting your happy ass into a church on Sunday morning and actually listening to the dude called the preacher. Their lyrics are a bit more complex, not obvious, as most lyrics are.   A quick review follows of each (click on title of band for website):

RED This band from Nashville  Tennessee formed in 2004. They are clearly tagged alternative rock.  They have recieved a significant amount of radio airplay. They now have two CDs on the market. The sound is lush as they incorporate heavy synthesizers  into their music to parrot the sound of a symphony. The vocals have the growl at times.  Certain songs have a significant presence, such as “Death Of Me” from the first CD that hit the commercial market. They have a very unique sound that is unmistakeable and branded to them. Live, they are an interesting group with strong stage presence.  Currently, they are playing some dates in small clubs, but you can also frequently see them as part of a mult-billed event as they make a great ‘filler’ band.

FLYLEAF I am biased, admittedly because of my Texas digs, but I like these guys. Formed in Belton/Temple Texas area in 2000, this group’s 2005 release sold well over 1M copies of whatever (today, the sales parameters have changed since the advent of on line down loads).  This is platinum.  All for a band whose lyrics are blatantly Christian. I have seen this band 5 times. Full of energy and a show that captivates, this is a must see band. But when you have done your chemical damage, just remember, these are a Christian band. Seeing them live, I am not sure what is more entertaining, the F’d up people in the pit without a clue to the lyrics they are listening, or the look on lead singers face (Lacey Sturm) when she witnesses the bohemian debachery and what ever else that goes on at the front of the pit.  Pure entertainment.  BTW, Lacey is a little elf like presences on stage, she may be 5 feet tall, maybe, and all of about 90 pounds, but the pipes on this one are impressive.  Go see them.

SKILLET This band, oddly enough, are the gramps of the bands listed herein.  Formed in the mid 90’s in Memphis, Tenn., they have gone through several line up changes. They have a total of 8 CDs out there. Yet, you and I have only heard them over the last 3 years. The current line up is headed by a husband and wife team. The music is straight up rock, melodic, with strong power chords and voices that individually are just OK, but the harmonies steal the show. Their lyrics are not as obvious as to their Christianity, as say Flyleaf, but none the less, unmistakable.  I was initially captivated by their first airplay song “The Last Time”, about a suicidal person who has the un migrated support of the writer of the song.  Very cool. Their latest, “Awake and Alive” cannot be avoided if you listen to hard rock or alt rock stations  (think Octane on Sirrius/XM). Never seen them live, hope to add them to the list in the near future.



ALTER BRIDGE This group was formed in Orlando FLA. They are the left overs from the group Creed, who had tremendous success and airplay with Scott Stapp at the lead vocals. Funny, Stapp was the son of a Pentecostal preacher, yet he is the one that had the most issues personally and likely struggled with Christianity. Mark Tremoni seems to the be ‘Christian’ anchor of this group. While Creed had tremendous success, again with largely Christian messages, Alter Bridge has continued the airplay jewels and popularity. Think “Isolation” on the current rock stations. Not sure all members embrace the Christian message, but many songs and the message is unmistakable. Truly, the current lead singer, Myles Kennedy has shown up on other, more seamingly secular projects like Slash’s solo project. But clearly Alter Bridge has proven, like the others above, that Christian music in the main stream can sell…..to a wide audience, most of whom, know nothing of what they are listening to between their Saturday highs

Honorable mention: AVENGED SEVENFOLD OK. I am not saying these guys are Christians in the sense that most of us define the religion. But folks, listen to the lyrics. You will find a host of songs that deal with death and the afterlife, and not the afterlife of Satan or some other god or demi-god. Their huge hit song “Afterlife” deals with someone dying too early in life and going to heaven before their time. Fitting, since their drummer recently passed resulting from heart issues brought on by drugs and alcohol. This is clearly the best group that has emerged in the last five years.  Formed in the late 90’s in Huntington Beach, CA, this group changed it’s styles along the way. Now several CDs that have sold greatly, they are riding their highs, and not looking back. Another great live band, go see them before lead singer’s voice (M Shadows) gives out completely


So there you go.  Between your weekend inebriation an the cool vibe you paid dearly for, suddenly, it is your mamma’s bands preaching to you. Well, think nothing of it.  These are great bands with great messages and music. Just embrace them.  Listen, I am not a bible thumper, quite the opposite.  But I know great music when I hear it, and we have featured great music here, no matter the message.  Look at it this way, this is no different than polically preachy bands, like say, System of A Down, who get into politics and such for their message.

Relax, and enjoy. Comments welcome.

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Saturday March 19 brought Warrant, Slaughter and Firehouse to a club in Grapevine Texas; Glass Cactus. I could not possibly miss a chance to see these so called 80’s hair bands perform in a small venue.  First about the venue, this is one of the best venues out there if you are into the whole ambiance thing. If you are into the rock and roll music lifestyle, not so much.  This is a club on the shores of Lake Grapevine. The deck has a 270 degree view of the lake. The clientele tends to be a bit swanky. The pure reason my concert friends will attend an event here, no matter who is playing. OK.  More wine, and I will continue. For $25, I could not resist seeing this line up. I do not have the issue of the venue.  I actually like it alot. It holds about 1500 in total.  Regretfully, it doubles as a younger peoples club after the concerts, so young assholes begin filling the place and a DJ takes over playing black music that whites try to imitate to think they are black.  Ugh

Firehouse (click on link for website)

Not a whole lot of people know this group. I have three CDs from them.  I love them. Lead singer CJ Snare has one of the best set of pipes in the industry.  Tonight however, I was quite disappointed.  The mix was not good. The sound was muffled as much too much bass….Snares vocals were not featured by the mix. Clearly, for the most part, he still can sing to the years of when they were most popular. He did go the low route on one of their mellow hits “When I Look Into Your Eyes”, a ballad that features his voice and changes keys for the higher at the end.  He ducked back at this point and went an octave lower, a true sign that a voice is tired. The band was fairly tight. They played an hour and addressed all of their “hits” such as they are.  Overall, they disappointed. The sound mix and a fairly rigid performance stole away the opportunity to establish a bond in a smaller club setting.


Slaughter (website under construction, so I do not put a link here)

This is one of my daughters favorite bands of the 80’s (daughter is 23……..loves the bands).  I am with her. They had two songs that made great radio airplay.  The group is headed by a dude named Slaughter, and I am not sure if he just rents the rest of the players from the session pool. But the music, (look folks, you need to look beyond the “hits”) is great. The group puts on an energetic show. Slaughter has packed on a few pounds. 15 maybe. So he does not have the sex appeal he once had (according to the daughter….get real you homo phobes), but he still commands a stage in a very singular manner. He has a very screeching voice (just Google slaughter fly to the angels….you will recognize the song). The band is very tight. The mix was on.  They made Firehouse look like they needed to drop off of this tour.

Warrant (Click on name for website)

So let me begin by saying that this is the 9 time seeing Warrant. Warrant is a 80’s ahri band that had a cadre of hits topped by a top five single; “Heaven” . The lead singer and primary writer was Jani Lane. The problem here is that Lane is bestowed by demons of multiple varieties. He is bipolar.  He is an addict. He is a talent that wastes his life away.  I have seen Warrant 6 times with Lane, 3 without.  In all times past, I thought the group sucked without Lane.  The problem is, they sucked with him as well. The last time I saw Lane with Warrant was when my daughter and I attended a one time festival in Houston called “Rock The Bayou”. Lane sucked. He sabotaged the performance of the other Warrant original members (one of the few groups touring today who are all original….sans Lane now). My daughter loves Warrant, the good Warrant when they are on.

So I was a real skeptic to see Warrant with yet another lead singer. All prior editions failed fairly miserably. I did not even get the name of the current singer.  Did not care. Figured they would suck as usual.  But after listening to them, my questions is Jani who? This dude had a voice. Yes he made an attempt to sound like Lane, but not so much. He clearly had his own identity. He was fucking terrific. He nailed each song (there is not a song they will play in concert that I do not know…sans the new stuff). His stage presence was excellent.

Warrant - they guys who have struggled through for years

Truly, this was one the second best Warrant concert I have witnessed. The first was when Lane went through a period of sobriety and being really thankful that fans stuck with him and the group over the years and his exploits. Back at the Bronco Bowl ( you Dallas peeps know what I speak of, but I digress) Every note was hit by this guy ( I really ought to get his name…..commenting peeps, help me out). His stage presence excelled. The original members embraced his presence.  Yes, there was a little kissing ass…..what do you expect?  But bottom line, this guy rocked, and so did Warrant.

As is true with most of these groups, they have a new CD coming out.  They played a few from it. It is too bad, there is just not airplay for these groups, and airplay is still king and dominated by the shits that come to this club after the concerts like this are over. The new music rocked. It is very blues rock based. My CD friends who collect them need to find a buy on this.  A++. And I just do not hand out these kind of endorsements…but this is derserved.  I will seek out to find when they play next to go hear them

Go see them. True fans ( and I know you are limited bunch) will not be disappointed.

Now a quick note: Jani Lane is currently filling in for Jack Russell as the lead singer for Great White. Seems Russell had a serious medical issue that has sidelined him since November.  Seems Russell has more medical issues that initially thought. For years, he evidently has taken a steroid to help his voice…stay strong…..and the result is not only his current medical issues, but a degradation in bone structure where he falls alot………very sad.  Word is, despite of my above review on Lane, he is strong  as Russell’s replacement, and they are cooking as a group and playing Warrant hits as well…..if this is true, I may need to work to see Great White for a 17th time…… after all, they are my original and favorite ‘hair band’ even despite the fact that they burned a Rhode Island night club that resulted in 99 people losing their lives, including their then basis  Ty Longly. I will see them again, no matter who is singing, and apparently Lane is doing a crack up job.

Peace. And go see Warrant.


Ozzy:The Blizzard of Odd

On January 24, 2011, in Concert Reviews, Uncategorized, by admin

Thursday night on January 20 brought 62 year old Ozzy Osbourne to American Airlines Center Dallas, Texas. This is a stop in the current tour to support his latest CD. The opening act was Slash and his band. Slash came on stage about 7:20p, about 10 minutes before the stated start time. The band was definitely tight and well prepared. A five piece group, led of course by Slash included another guitar, bassist, and a lead singer, Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge fame. Clearly, the lead singer is trying to copy Axel Roses’ voice. When Slash played his own music, it was based in blues rock. Quite good overall. It was reasonably received by the crowd, but in the end, the quintet would have to play Guns N Roses to keep the crowd propped up throughout the set. As mentioned, the voice of Kennedy did a reasonable job of imitation, and the tightness of the band reasonably pulled off the the sound of GNR. Slash, of course, had his branded black hat and sunglasses outlining his frizzed hair…no changes here. They played until 8:10 p.m.

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Slash Looking Like Slash

Ozzy was sporting a lot of new blood in his band lineup. Gone is Zak Wilde. A new drummer sits atop the kit perch. At a certain moment, when you see Ozzy out there, you wonder when Sharon is going to let him kick back, as he kind of needs to. The show was typical Ozzy. The same old “the louder and wilder you are the longer I play” statement over and over to the crowd, even though the corporate stopping point on this venue is 10:45.  I have seen Ozzy now 9 times, and it has always been the same. It is getting old. Also also consistent to Ozzy, was the high pressure fire hose, this time it was filled with a foam/water combination, a sort of Ibiza foam party, if you will. In fairness, Ozzy douses himself as well. This leaves the overly conservative venue cleanup crew mopping the first 20 rows while the concert is going on. Get a grip AA.

Ozzy’s performance was quite good overall. Now when I say this, I am evaluating based upon his past performances, and the fact that he is a 62 year old that has fried himself 80 times past the electric chair over the years with consistent abuse of whatever….his voice was OK. For the most part, he was on key, which has been a consistent issue in the past times I seen him. His mannerisms consist of truly the odd. At a certain moment, he shuffles across the stage like as if he has an imaginery walker in front of him. He shuffles his feet, his hand before him limply faced to the ground, head sort of preceding the body; kind of like Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” after the character has had his frontal lobotomy.  And when Ozzy tries to get into the music, he jumps in place SORT OF to the beat of the music. There is no question is trying to give it his all. In spite of the fact that I joke that if he was not Ozzy, the Sharon branded Ozzy, he would be simply odd looking in his old white guys rhythm.

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Ozzy Larger Than Life

Sharon drives him in order to cash every red cent in on his branding. I really think, like most musicians, his ego requires himself to be up in front of the thousands of people playing his music, so maybe he is fortunate to have such a business minded wife.  Toward the midpoint of the 2 hour set, I noticed his hands shake everytime they were free of the microphone. This is probably another reason he hangs onto the mike with a death grip. Sure enough, in comes the drum solo, the guitar solo, and whatever. Bottom line, though Ozzy technically played a two hour set, he was absent from the stage for 20 minutes while we had to struggle through musicians banging wildly on the set.  OK.  We know you can play the instruments guys, it is why you are up there and I am not.  No need to prove yourselves.  But really, Ozzy needs this break.  He came out after nearly 20 minutes to finish approximately 30 minutes worth of material.  His strength renewed, he proceeded, as usual to throw buckets of water on the front 5 rows. Enter in the moppers once again. So he had the strength to pick up buckets of water….this is good.  The sound was a bit different from when I have heard him in the past.  The band was tight as usual, but this time, the sound has been mixed differently to really kick in the guitars.  Heavy, heavy guitar sound that drove the quintet signature with each song.  I appreciated this, and a great improvement. It really makes the songs sound truly heavier metal, once again.   Good touch. It makes the music drive more squarely into your head, perhaps bypassing Ozzy’s ever weakening voice. He played all of his solo material and good renditions of Iron Man and War Pigs from the Sabbath days. The new guitarist is named Gus G.  They are trying to brand him as a viable replacement for Wilde.  He was good, no doubt, but it just is not Zak Wilde, who plays and drinks on stage as if he will not live another day.  There have been too many good guitarists sharing that stage with Ozzy, he should just let this Gus G. develop on his own instead of trying to market him down our collective throats.

After nearly two hours, and right on time to meet the corporate deadline (I love these, how we have come along from the days of concerts where the band ((read this the Doors and others of the day)) shows up two hours late and plays until whatever).  Ozzy did one encore, and left 8 minutes on the table before his and the corporation’s collective bed times. In attendance was about 9,000 fans on a Thursday night. In order to create a more tight scene for Ozzy given the lighter attendance, they sealed of the third deck, and transferred all of those nose bleed ticket holders to the lower bowl….no doubt pissing those people off who really paid for the lower bowl.  But it did make for a much more energetic scene.  The lighter attendance can be blamed on the bad economy, yes, but really, there have been a lot of shows competing for Dallas area music buffs dollars this year, so I think it was as much a Thursday night thing as much as souring economic times.

The American Airlines venue is not my favorite concert hall. Too big, questionable acoustics, and generally leaves a limp feeling toward the show. But Ozzy did an appreciable job, along with management on the venue to make it look and sound a bit smaller, to create a good buzz in the venue.  The crowd, who looked to average around an age of 40 or so,  was definitely responsive and appreciative. I am sure Ozzy will be back.  If this tour is coming to your city, check him out.  It is worth the investment of time and money overall, if nothing more than to see him hopping on the stage as the Blizzard of Odd……

Sammy Hagar And Cheap Casino Action

On December 21, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Fashion Plate Sammy Hagar

Always A Party With Sammy

I see  a load of concerts yearly. Far too much of my budget gets allocated to concert events.  Well, WTF, call it my bucket list if you will. But there are few concert events that I look forward to more than to see Sammy Hagar. And in the end, each time I am not disappointed.  This version of the Sammy show took place at an unusual venue, but one in the Dallas area that has been very aggressive in booking events.  This was held in the Winstar Casino, Thackerville, OK. For my Russian spamming friends, this is 1.5 hours north of the city center of Dallas, TX, USA. (I continually wish to upgrade your geographical skills and knowledge of the US if you are going to spam sites with the latest in male enhancing rip offs.)

This a strange place for a concert.  The thing is, this casino gets major acts to play there.  I get it. Host a show, and an additional 1200 people or so will come to your casino who would not have otherwise.  The thing is, they recently put an addition on to the casino.  It resulted in a new room for a venue, replacing the old make shift venue where they lined up chairs on a flat floor 40 rows deep.  It reminded me of the latest kumbya church. So they allocated a new room for the venue, and the result was a room much the same.  If I was an artist, I would charge double to play this shitty venue. It is hard to generate any kind of energy in a smaller venue when all of the seats are serially located away from the stage by row on a flat surface. WE were fortuate, we had seats about 5 rows back.

For anyone who has not been to a Sammy Hagar show, you are swinging and missing at the plate.  His shows are always a party, from the straight ahead non stop rock which mixes his solo, Van Halen and Montrose days together.  Hard to remember that this guy started his career in Montrose, circa 1973 or so. Of course, his signature bar was set up serving him his branded Tequila from attractive chicks.  The winter version of the Sammy Hagar waitresses are Jeans and a tight shirt. The summer version is always bikini clad. God love Sammy.

For those of you not too familiar with Sammy, he is branded in the rock world in a similar manner that Jimmy Buffet is branded in the, well, I am not so sure what world. Sammy has his Cabo Wabo Cantina, his signature Cantina/music venue in Cabo San Lucas which he has now franchised across the nation in travel destinations, much like Buffet’s Margarita-ville.  Also same has his branded Tequila. Sammy has branded himself as a beach rat party boy.  His show supports this branding.  Non stop activiety.  Needless to say, there are no power ballads in the Sammy Hagar set list. The show started off with a video of concert clips and general party times while on tour.  Many of the clips came from the Cabo Cantina, no doubt guest musician appearances at his annual birthday bash the second weekend in October.  Sammy Hagar Tequila Site. He then broke into several of his hit singles of his solo career, including my favorite of his, “I Can’t Drive 55”. This produced instant energy, at least as much as this rather poor arena would allow. I thought the show overall was very good.  He kept his intensity up all night long for the roughly 1.75 hour set. If anything, I felt he cut it a bit short overall, leaving good songs on the table like “Sam I Am.” There was not an opening act, so it would have seemed he could have played longer.  There was not encore as well.

This appearance was the 5th time seeing the Red Rocker. It ranks among one of the lower appearances.  Overall, as I said, I liked the show, but there were issues.  His supporting band of  well over a decade was sloppy at best.  Normally they are a very tight unit.  Tonight, it seemed as if guitar riffs, rhythm, and bass all collated together to result in a less than succinct sound that I am used to from this outfit.  Perhaps Hagar let on the reasoning:  this was a last leg of this part of the tour, and he personally was headed back to Cabo San Lucas after the show.  If so, this could attribute to the less than stellar musicianship. Sammy’s voice, however, was top form.  He does not cheat on the high notes as so many aged rockers do. His energy guides him through.  The other thing I observed?  This guy is just happy.  No brooding spoiled rock star.  He truly enjoys being up there partying for the masses.  It is infectious.  You end up happy as well, and feeling good you spent the coin to come.

Even though it was not one of the better outings that I have seen Sammy Hagar, I still enjoyed the show immensely as did those I was with at this concert.

The Biz:  This venue holds about 1500.  About 1200 were present at an average ticket price of $40..  Parking is free, so no revenue from there.  I estimate the total bar intake was was around 15K.  Total estimated revenue was $63,000, plus whatever was spent on casino gambling and a few hotel rooms since this is a bit of a ways from Dallas. So they made well for this show.  This venue seems to do well, as they continue to book strong B list and some A List acts.  Next up here, Goo Goo Dolls……

Scale of 1 to 10, I give the show a 7y, overall


Hinder: All American Nightmare Review

On December 7, 2010, in Concert Reviews, by admin

Hinder "All American Nightmare" Released Today

Hinder Website

Please let me enduldge myself: This is my little passion of a rock band. Even though they get largely panned by the media as a Motley Crue wanna be, I have gone on record on this site previously stating they are one of the best rock bands to come out in the last 5 years. Today, Hinder released their third album, “All American Nightmare”.  Rumor has it they pulled this forward to a December release from a previously planned January or February release. Hinder, from Oklahoma City hit the scene several years back with the instant single hit “Lips of An Angel” which climbed both the pop  and country charts (the latter was a re-make by John Anderson). The initial album sold north of 3M copies, quite a feet in this age of iTunes.  Their second follow up sold over a million copies, but not much further. The second was a lavish production in packaging and excess, including DVD about the making of the album. With the lessor sales, I have no doubt the record company took a bath on this one.  The second was a near carbon copy of the first in song writing style…something probably not noticed by the average consumer. The footprint was amazingly similar.  “Without You” copied the style and format of writing of “Lips Of An Angel”. “Use Me” was a footprint of “Get Stoned”, and so on.  The whole album was hook laden.  I am not saying they did not try anything new on the second, but clearly it was a 80% attempt to duplicate commercial success.  Tough call.  This is a fickle, at best, music industry filled with a buying public with serious Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.


All American Nightmare Cover

With All American Nightmare, gone is the lavish packaging. Gone are the girly pictures in a multi-page spread inside the CD packaging. Largely gone are the obvious hooks.  To a lessor extent, the song structure is a bit more complex with most entires. Now of course, reviews and reviewers are nothing more than opinions, all based upon what the reviewer expects. I expected some growth in their musical approach. I got it overall. This album sounds much less like the others.  There is a distinct blues approach in the guitar riffs The songs continue to be rather short in length, but they pack good music into them.  There are only ten songs, so overall, you can listen while you empty the dishwasher and then get on with your life.  One day I would like to see this band break out with some jam in thier music.  Put in a song that is 6:00 plus. Play lead more than in the riff or the musical bridge. Their guitarist Blower is just dying to break out if I read his actions properly in the 5 times I have seen this group live (Check out the post from last week, here). The subject of the lyrics are still pretty much still Hinder. Drinking, chicks, rock music, all of the normal.  Audiences are likely to be quite bored with the same ole same ole. This is not quite the careful album of the others, as the music once again sounds a bit different without loosing their signature Hinder sound. Back to expectations. I just expected that they would progress a little more. Take a few more chances…lenghten the songs, play some lead, be a little careless and less structured in the music, breakout, and be musically wild like they like to convince you they are in their lives….not gonna happen here, apparently.

I imagine they are still playing straight into their target demographic, younger twenty somethings. I do not fit this group. I am a music nut who listens to songs on multiple levels. So take the opinion for what it is.  Overall, this is very listen-able music.  A little less (very slightly less) poppy than their first two outings. The hard rock songs are a bit more harder, but then there are a few more slower songs as well. The main strong point of this album is that the songs have a very personable, listen-able feel to them. None of them are going to motivate you to push the songs viral into your Facebook  or other Social Network friends, but the whole album can be listened to as back ground or unoffensive party music. Each song is well produced in signature Hinder style.  The musician ship is tight and Austin Winkler’s voice continues to be strong in the pseudo gravelly sound that is his style .On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, I give this effort a 6. This is worth the buy or download from iTunes.  Out of the 10 songs, about 3-4 will find their way onto my iPod/iPhone. (I do not load entire CDs, I cherry pick based on the best ((in my opinion)) songs). I will tell you, that I purchased this at Best Buy although I seriously dislike Best Buy.  I wanted the CD as I pay close attention to packaging as well as the music. The suggested price of this CD is $9.99….so if you see it in a store higher than that, do not buy it.  It is marked up past the suggested.  Best Buy went the other direction on the release day.  I purchased for $7.99, a full $2 less than suggested retail and what you will likely be able to purchase “All American Nightmare” on iTunes as a download.

Seems Hinder has put themselves on sale to push CD/downloads. Ah, they continue to bow to that great commercial god, who feeds these musicians well . I predict this will have an issue breaking the 1M mark in album sales. I think largely, the buying public is beyond this group in its current format as it refuses to change…..but, that said, I like them, and I think those who like this kind of music will if they give themselves a chance to listen.


Monday night November 29 saw Hinder, Saving Abel, My Darkest Days, and Default foll into town on this post Thanksgiving holiday Monday night. This was held at the Palladium Ballroom, Dallas Texas. I could not miss the opportunity to see Hinder in a small venue.  Saving Abel, and My Darkest Days were also on the bill.  Default was as well, but not reviewed as alas, traffic hang ups had us inadvertently hanging up on Default.  No worries, had seen them twice previous with only moderate results.

My Darkest Days

Canadian Band founded by the most successful Canadian band

It started with My Darkest Days. This is an interesting outfit from Toronto, Canada.  Fairly new to the national scene, they were discovered by fellow Canadian Chad Kroger of Nickelback.  Not bad backing.  The group was founded by lead singer Matt Walst, whose brother plays bass for Three Days Grace. So they are no stranger to the head start in a clogged industry.  I was impressed with these lads. They have a straight ahead approach to the music and stage presence.  I had already known them from their single which I down loaded into my iPod a few weeks back (not realizing they were on this bill).  I will be downloading a few more. The music is labeled ‘post grunge’, whatever that means. I found it to be very hard with melodic hooks for choruses that fit well into the music. Nothing musically is too difficult here.  I was impressed with the harmonies, however. The second guitarist, a multi hair do colored Mohawk kind of guy shared vocals with strength, and exquisite harmonies.  There you go….there is no harmonizing in grunge.  Great act.  Hope they see more success.

Saving Abel was next.  This is the third time seeing them, the first in smaller venue.  These guys will release their second album shortly. They played the single off of the new album, one that is decent, but nothing to get too excited about.  It is a clever lyric for the chorus and that is about it.  I was not too impressed this time with this group. I cannot put my finger on it, but it just seem the act and presentation was false on several levels.  It did not help when the lead singer started tearing up during yet another tribute to our military (one day I would really like to see any number of these bands quit the tributes, dawn the battle fatigues, and really understand what the military goes through daily.  Not that I know either, but I’m just sayin’. This guy wiped, or pretended, to wipe tears from his eyes from the moment he introduced the song and throughout.  At a certain moment, I felt like I was listening to, well, most of you know what…will not say it here. And the drummer, he must have been high as a kite. He glared in awesome wonder around the room as he adequately addressed his drumming duties.  His pupils were the size of dollar coins. Oh wow, man. I am not saying that Saving Abel was bad, it just did not do much for me on this night. The friends I attended with enjoyed them immensely, so trust their judgement.  They go to alot of concerts as well. As for my opinion,  They are better suited on a multi-band bill in a larger venue playing the allotted 40 minutes.


We will see what the new album brings

Hinder. Now these guys from OKC yield a variety of opinions from music listeners.  There was a group that frequently goes with us to concerts that would not pay to see them. Too soft (not the word he used).  Others write them off as a pop band who has worn out the welcome carpet with their intentional designs to mirror the Motley Crue lifestyle (self admitted by Hinder). Other consider them just plain pop music. However, I tag them as the best band to come out in the last five years.  They have had some staying power.  The first album sold north of 3 Million, the second approached 2 Million…now kids, this is not easy in the days of downloads.  They played four songs off of the new album to be released Tuesday, 7 December. I can tell you that from what I heard, the sound will largely be the same as the previous two. Overall the performance was good and well received by the rather sparse crowd of 200 or so. The highlight of the evening was a strong rendition of “Better Than Me” and a strongly performed “Without You”.  On “Lips of an Angel”, they cheapen the guitar up which makes the song less effective.  Hell, I play the song more complexly when performing it acoustically than he does.

As mentioned, the crowd was small.  Clearly the band names in stock this evening could not draw folks out on a post Thanksgiving holiday Monday.  That says something as well. I estimate total revenue for this event at $7,000, parking, drinks, and ticket prices added up.  Ouch.  Somebody lost their ass………

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Unless you have been dwelling in a dingy hole somewhere, hard rock fans, you should know by now that the Uproar Tour, 2010, sported one of the best line ups of the summer. Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Stone Sour, Halestorm, Hellyeah, Airbourne and others made up for one roaring kick in the ass good time in Dallas on Friday, September 10. The Uproar Tour is no different than other commercially driven (ah, that would be sponsored) event.  This was set up as a festival in the hot Texas sun, starting around 3:30p.  There were two stages: the main and a large side stage. The bands began on the side stage.  I did not arrive until a bit later in the afternoon….and after the necessary beers in the parking lot, we went in and unfortunately missed half of the first band: Airbourne.  I really wanted to see their whole set…oh well, two parking lot beers too many apparently.


Airbourne in the Air

Airbourne is an Australian outfit that brings back a sound from the metal 80’s. Sounding like a mix of Motley Crue and early AC/DC, these guys have received moderate airplay in the last year.  This is no easy task for this type of band in today’s fragmented and ailing popular music scene. Their set was tight, the songs recognizable, and the antics were in your face. Really, maybe just a bit too much, too contrived. The lead singer seemed to graduate from Headbanger University teaching lead singers the 10 sound bites to say on stage.  He passed, A+.  He needed a bit more creativity.  Overall, still, I liked these guys and look forward to more beyond the Uproar Tour.

Hellyeah. This band is always a Dallas favorite because of its roots here with drummer Vinnie Paul. It does not hurt to have the Pantera legacy as well.  Every time I see these guys I think the same thing.  Consistent. Enjoyable. Crowd pleasing. These guys are a little more grunge in approach.  Recently they have enjoyed air play as well.  But the songs that get air play really are kind of flat on a Hellyeah set. Performance wise, they are tight. This is a cohesive group. Not one of my personal favorites, but I do enjoy seeing them.  I just would not go see them as a headliner. They are best suited on bills like the Uproar Tour.

Halestorm. Brother/sister act Halestorm proved to be more than the title song of Voyuers everywhere (I Get Off ). Upon stage arrival, it took a a few minutes to get over the fact that Lizzi Hale looks (and sounds) like she could be the daughter of Pat Benetar. Nice looks.  But Lizzi needs to just say “no” to spandex.  A somewhat squatty lower body made this a bad look. But the tunes were good.

Halestorm on Stage

Loose The Spandex Lizzi

In fact, I down loaded some to my iPod. As a band, it is clear they are young and a bit raw. Stage presence was decent, and even understated until they did what I consider a really bad sign….a drum solo.  Let me explain. This band had a 30 minute slot to play and impress.  They used over 5 of it for a useless drum solo. Tells me they are short on music…at least rock music that fits the flavor of the Uproar Tour. The brother drummer was also a pretty boy. Clearly, part of the act is to sell looks for this group. Give them a listen.  A decent group, that, if they solve their apparent playlist issue and get even more airplay, they will be touring alot on shows such as this.

Stone Sour. This is a group I struggle to understand.  First, how does lead Corey Taylor strike gold twice with Slipknot and Stone Sour?  Why not translate the music to Slipknot, he just need a reason to get rid of the on stage outfit?  This questions will never get answered. This is the fourth time seeing Stone Sour. They have a no nonsense stage approach, with the sparse stage back drop to match.  They do not, however, loose any energy.  Sound wise, their harder stuff blends a little too much together.  Could be mixing. But I cannot separate any specific guitar work from voice, bass, etc.  You get the picture. As a lead without the get up, Taylor makes for an odd front man. He offsets his nakedness by running back and forth as if possessed, but in a friendly sort of way

Corey Taylor of Stone Sour

Taylor without the Slipknot Get Up

Ironically, Stone Sour’s most popular songs, judging by airplay and audience expectation are softer, acoustic guitar based songs. Melodic, and with striking lyrics.  Those songs do not translate well in a show with this bill.  So they left one of them on the table.  Their new song received decent acceptance, less than I thought it would given the airplay it now gets. Overall, this was just an average outing for a group that has a lot of talent. They were better on other nights that I have seen them…but still, do not pass a chance to go see them.

Disturbed. Right up front, I do not like these guys, never did.  I was not here to see them. And it is not like I have not seen them before, this is the fifth time to see them. One thing is for certain, they sure do have a lot of recognizable songs from massive airplay. All I will say about this performance is that their act has gone a bit more mainstream.  More corporate, if you will. It is less edgy as in the past, and the audience reaction followed suit. Not taking anything away from hard core fans, again, this is just my personal tastes.

Avenged Sevenfold. This is the group I was here to see. This is the first tour after the loss of their drummer, DOA for who knows what reason.  Replaced by Dream Theaters drummer, they march on. Lead guy M Shadows voice was in great form. Recall they had to cancel a tour mid way two years back due to voice issues. Their brand of rock is very difficult to pull off. Listen to their music on iTunes or CDs, it is very complex, almost Kansas like in machine gun musical directions within one song. It takes a talented group to pull this off live, and they most certainly do,

Avenged Sevenfold Stage

Yes, Avenged Sevenfold Knows Death First Hand Recently

Avenged Sevenfold Stage

Welcome To Hell

Blessed with an elaborate stage set up that changed it flavors several times throughout the one hour set, the group did not miss a beat in playing or energy. They are musically a superior band.  Audience reaction was great as well.  In fact, we thought Avenged Sevenfold was the headliner as billed. They must switch nights with Disturbed on headlining.  Bad news for Disturbed when they are headlining as in tonight as audience reaction is much stronger for Avenged Sevenfold, and 20% of the audience left before Disturbed closed the night. This group has never been more popular as witnessed by their hit “Nightmare” which charted at #2 in the overall singles chart recently….yes the overall charts, not just the rock charts.  Go see this band.  They are curious.  Their themes are dark. Their personality matches.  Yet their lyrics are lace with interesting religious implications. This was my third time seeing them, and this was the best.

Business Results. As many of you know, I like to summarize the business side of the concerts I attend.  There is no doubt this has been one of the most difficult concert seasons in years with cancellations, low attendance, etc. Tonight was no different. I believe this line up was stellar (sans Disturbed). This venue holds 20,000. Tonight I estimate that there were 11,000 in attendance on a Friday night. As with festivals that are sponsored, it is difficult to assess the sponsorship money.  The festival approach yields a myriad of vendor tents selling things to concert goers.  Then there is the alcohol….bottom line, I estimate this event grossed less than $600,000. There was not the normal bullshit $15 charge for parking.  My pit ticket cost $105 with all the Ticketmaster bullshit fees. The hillside lawns were about $40. Clearly organizers were hoping for more, and it just depneds on the sponsorship money to know whether this floated the costs of the event.

Go see these bands.  This is a great tour.

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